I saw a meme on Facebook the other day that jumped out at me because of its message. For, I believed its message was false, and that it was misleading, for I believed that it was painting a false image of who God is and of our relationship with him as followers of Jesus Christ.
This is what the meme said:
“I have a friend who loves me without restriction, trusts me without fear, wants me without demand, and accepts me for who I am. He is God.”
So, I believe the Lord is leading me today to break down the individual components of this meme and to look at this description of God in relation to us and in relation to his word to see if what this is teaching is truth or a lie.
He loves me without restriction
Is God’s love for us truly unconditional? Well, we know that he loved us and that he died for us on that cross while we were yet sinners, so we didn’t do anything in our flesh to earn or to deserve God’s love and grace. He gave them to us freely from his heart in order that we might believe on him and so be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God.
But are there conditions to us receiving his love and grace? Yes, there are. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, he said that if we hold on to our old lives (save ourselves), we will lose our lives for eternity. But if, for his sake, we lose our lives (die with him to sin), we will have eternal life with him (Lu 9:23-26; cf. Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” Jn. 14:15, 21, 23-24
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” Jn. 15:10
So, we see here that there are conditions (restrictions) to receiving God’s love and grace into our lives. We must keep (obey, hold to) his commandments (New Covenant), for if we love him, we will obey him, and if we love and obey him, he will love us, and God the Father will love us, and they will make their home within us, and we will abide in God’s love.
Then we read these words in 1 John:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 Jn. 2:15
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.” 1 Jn 2:3-5
He trusts me without fear
I know nowhere in Scripture where it teaches us that God trusts us implicitly. We are sinful human beings, yes, saved by grace if we die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, but still subject to failure, and still with a propensity to sin, so why would God trust us? But Scripture teaches that we are to put our trust and faith in God.
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” Is 12:2
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rom 15:13
For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 1 Pet 2:6
But there are a few Scriptures that talk about being given a trust, and Paul mentioned that God considered him trustworthy, which was specific to him, and there is a parable in Luke 16 that speaks of being trusted with much or little, but it does not specifically teach that God trusts us or that he trusts all who profess faith in him, in general.
To be given a trust, though, is not the same as God just trusting everyone who professes his name or even all who believe in him. It means that God has entrusted us with his gospel, and his salvation, and with his Holy Spirit, and with gifts of the Spirit, and with Spiritual ministries (assignments), and that we are to prove ourselves faithful to that trust (assignment from God).
And I am not sure what is meant by God trusts us without fear. Without fear of what? God doesn’t fear anything or anyone. Is this saying that God fully trusts us with everything and that he never has to be concerned that we might fail him? That is putting ourselves in the position of God then.
For, if we trust someone, we believe that person is honest and sincere and will not deliberately do anything to harm us. God doesn’t trust all who profess faith in him to be honest and to not deliberately do what is harmful. But if we are given a trust, God is giving us something to do, and we are responsible to be faithful to that trust, but that is not saying that God trusts us that we will be faithful. Not all stewards are faithful.
He wants me without demand
Well, Jesus loved us enough to die for us on that cross that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin so we might now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. He died for us that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And He shed his blood for us on that cross that we might now honor God with our bodies.
We can only come to faith in Jesus Christ if the Father draws us to Christ, and we can love only because he first loved us. So, he definitely pursues us, for he is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. And God gave Jesus to the world that whoever believing in him might have eternal life with God (Jn 3:16).
But it is not true that God wants us without demand. He demands that we die with him to sin (forsake our sins) and follow him in obedience, that we obey his commandments, that we walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, that we love one another, that we do what he says, and that we don’t make sin our practice.
For, he says if we don’t die with him to sin, and if we don’t live to him and to his righteousness, but we continue living in our sins, in disobedience to our Lord, making sin our practice, and if righteousness is not what we practice, that we don’t have eternal life with him, for we don’t know him.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
He accepts me for who I am
“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right’.” Acts 10:34-35
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet 2:5
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Rom 12:1-2
“Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.” Rom 14:18
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” Heb 12:28
So, we can see from these passages of Scripture that God accepts those who fear (honor, respect, revere, obey) him and do what is right, that we must offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, that we are to present our bodies to the Lord as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to him, and if we serve him, we are acceptable to God, and we must offer to God acceptable worship.
Then we read that those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God, which has to do with actions and behaviors, and that we are to make it our goal to please the Lord, and that whoever sows to please the flesh will reap corruption, but those who sow to please the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Also, we are instructed to live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, and we must live in such a way as to please the Lord, and we must keep his commands and do what pleases him. So, obviously we are accepted or acceptable according to what we do and how we treat the Lord, not for who we are, unless who we are is one who honors and obeys the Lord.
[Rom 8:8; 2 Co 5:9; Gal 6:8; Eph 5:10; Col 1:9-11; 1 Thes 2:4; 1 Thes 4:1; 2 Tim 2:4; Heb 11:6; Heb 13:6; 1 Jn 3:22]